Not taking a backup could actually land you in a sticky situation… Unless of course, you like to live dangerously – assuming your WordPress website is immune to threats! The fact of the matter is no website is safe from threats – unexpected server failures, hacking attempts, or data loss – and without a backup, there’s no way to contain the damage! 

Website backups make damage control a tad bit easier. However, it’s not like you’ve got to backup ALL of it at every given opportunity! To make it easier for you, we have compiled a list of files that you should definitely not miss backing-up, no matter what. Read on…

1. Files you need to backup 

Come hell or high water… These files should be backed up as insurance in the event of your website going kaput!

i. wp-content folder

The wp-content folder stores all your themes, images, plugins and media, and therefore every WordPress website’s wp-content folder is unique. Now, if you can remember what plugins and themes you had installed, and are sure you never made any major tweaks or custom changes to the settings, etc.  then you can always get fresh copies of these plugins and themes from their sources. You don’t need to backup plugins and themes folders in such cases. However, you need to back them up, if you cannot remember all the plugins you have installed.

Also, certain gallery plugins need to be backed-up as they create folders to store files for your galleries. More importantly, in the case of custom themes, you should definitely backup these folders. Since all your uploads and images go into /wp-content/uploads folder, you will not be able to recreate it, if you happen to lose this folder.

So, /wp-content/uploads is a MUST backup folder! Again, different WordPress plugins like WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, etc. may also create their own folders in the wp-content folder. These plugins can regenerate those files on a fresh install and setup, so it’s safe to ignore them and not take a backup. As a rule of thumb, the files that you have uploaded using plugins should be backed up!

ii. WordPress configuration files

The WordPress Configuration files consist of important settings information for your WordPress website. Two of the most important WordPress configuration files are:

  • .htaccess file
  • wp-config.php file

These files have settings pertaining to your WordPress site. Although they can be manually recreated, it is always advisable to add them to your backups.

iii. WordPress database

Your site files do not contain all your website information like blog posts and pages. WordPress uses MySQL queries to get data and uses those to generate web pages. To have an exact clone of your site, apart from your site files, you also need to back up your MySQL database. The MySQL database is where all of your WordPress data lives. Data such as :

  • Posts
  • Users
  • Comments
  • Categories and tags (taxonomies) and so on

Along with your website files, you also need to backup MySQL database because site files and your database together make up your entire site.

If you back up your files alone, it will just be an empty theme: no posts, no pages, no added media library images. If you back up your database alone, you will have content (posts, pages, etc.) but you will not have a theme, or functionality or appearance.

2. Can you leave out WordPress core files?

WordPress website runs on Core WordPress files. All files in the root folder, wp-admin folder and wp-includes together make up Core WordPress files. They remain the same for all WordPress sites, so normally you would never make any changes to them.

You don’t need to keep a backup of these files as fresh copies of them are always available from WordPress.org.

3. Why not backup everything?

Ideally, you should create a full backup at least once a month, or sooner depending on the nature of your site’s content! However, doing so can drain your server resources, leaving you with a slow website. If you have a shared server, transferring large backup files could result in unfinished uploads or corrupt backups.

4. Backup your WordPress site (2 methods)

What you need is an effective strategy to create a backup without much of a hassle! Click To Tweet

i. Automatic backups

Automatic backups of your WordPress site are what the name suggests… automatic. They happen on their own without requiring your inputs. If you know there will be lots of extra material on your site every day, then this option is a must. Because you need to ensure you don’t lose anything if the worst happens. Some hosting companies will back up your WordPress automatically each day — which is great because you can set it and forget it. But your host should give you the option to manually save everything, too. This is because when you change themes, or when there is a major WordPress update, you can’t always be sure everything will go according to plan.

ii. Manual backups

While automatic backups on the server level are awesome and convenient, you want other copies of your site saved in different places. A manual backup can be done in through your cPanel. But manual backups are very complex and time-consuming and are not a viable solution. Well, so what is the simplest way to ensure safe backups for your WordPress website? To make it easier to back up your site, choose a plugin like BlogVault that backs up your complete WordPress site, including the non-WordPress files.

Not just that — you can also opt for daily automatic backups and take unlimited backups whenever you need them, in just one click

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